Participants at the closing ceremony of the International Year of Water Cooperation reflected on achievements during the Year, discussed fostering further cooperation and considered the way forward, with a focus on water and the post-2015 development agenda.
The ceremony took place from 5-6 December 2013, in Mexico City, Mexico. In addition, over 1000 events took place globally as part of the Water Cooperation Campaign, ranging from cycling and walking for water events, to the Ramsar Wetlands Day.
Blanca Jiménez-Cisneros, International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), summarized the Year, including its main messages, at the ceremony. Jiménez- Cisneros said water cooperation: builds peace and is key to socioeconomic development, poverty eradication, social equity, gender equality and environmental sustainability; creates tangible economic benefits; and is crucial to preserve water resources, ensure their sustainability and protect the environment.
The closing ceremony featured messages from the Year’s milestone events. For example, a High-level Panel at World Water Day recognized water as “a prerequisite in the future development framework […] to attain vital economic, equity, employment, health, educational, agriculture/food and energy benefits and for maintaining ecosystem services and supporting resilience to climate change.”
The Declaration from the High-level International Conference on Water Cooperation recommended including “issues of water resources, drinking water and sanitation, and wastewater” in the post-2015 development agenda.
The ceremony also included panels on: water security and cooperation; challenges and opportunities of cooperation, including the roles of decision-making, education and science and South-South cooperation; and the role of water in the future we want.
UNESCO and UN Water will prepare a final report on the Water Cooperation Campaign, with the aim of promoting water cooperation and raising awareness on water-related objectives in the post-2015 development agenda. Individuals can contribute to the report by sharing outcomes through a questionnaire.
UNESCO and UN Water will submit a second report to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) with recommendations on a water Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), which will be presented to the 69th Session of the UNGA in September 2014.
UNESCO organized the closing ceremony on behalf of UN Water, with the support of the Government of Mexico.